Amidst countless metaphors like "a glass half full, a glass half empty", "with arm behind your back" and "half a loaf" that capture the mood of previous Conferences of Paris, are the leaders of the world pacing fast enough to utilise the world’s last-chance opportunity to curtail the existential impacts of the warming planet?" Will the United Arab Emirates, which will be hosting Cop28, be able to build on the aim of the previous Cop27?
Illustration by Team Geostrata
One of the biggest threats to international peace and security has proven to be climate change. Political instability has been generated by our inability to address climate change's concern.
The governments that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 "are still due to deliver on promises made" There is a wide gap between the pathway to decarbonization that countries have committed themselves to and the pathway that science proposes to achieve the target of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
The United Arab Emirates is set to host Cop28 in Dubai Expo City from November 30– 12, 2023. UAE is the country that has invested a lot in renewable energy and has the least methane emissions, and it has been working on climate change by being a part of various projects.
The UAE's aim is to bring the whole world together to realize that Climate Change is a global problem and that there is a need to work in solidarity and unity to deliver solutions to the problems.
The UAE is taking a dual approach. UAE aims at expanding oil and gas production, which will make it challenging for them to complete the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5, while on the other hand, it commits to funding clean energy at home and overseas.
A senior research fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House stated "It will be difficult for Emirates to deal with fossil fuels as its own economy is dependent on gas and oil".
In 2009, richer countries committed to funding $100 billion a year by 2020 from public and private sources to address the needs of developing countries. However, total commitment had only reached $80 billion by 2019, and the $100 billion target is now unlikely to be met before 2023.
One of the objectives is also to acknowledge the fact that the countries that are the least polluters are the worst victims of climate change, but rather to ensure no delays in climate finance so as to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of property, livelihoods, and lives.
With the failure of "landmark" commitments made six years ago in the Paris Agreement, any delay in climate financing and fair global policies is unacceptable to the poor and developing nations bearing the brunt of climate change events.
It is of vital importance for world leaders to understand that emerging economies face a dual challenge: meeting the needs of billions of people who lack access to basic, modern energy services on the one hand while actively participating in the global decarbonization process on the other.
Therefore, sustainable energy policies facilitating the societal and economic development of such nations will be an instrumental tool to accelerate the process of achieving global climate goals.
The lack of finance is hindering the process of achieving climate goals at a fast pace and, at the same time, putting Africa’s sustainable development at risk. Africa is suffering from various challenges such as droughts, famines, migration, a lack of electricity, and a lack of clean cooking oil. Very little has been invested in Africa when it comes to bringing about climate change.
Dr. Al Jaber said that Cop28 is looking for additional mechanisms to supercharge the flow of capital to Africa. By doing this, Africa can have high growth and sustainable development and help achieve the Paris Agreement goals.
There is also an initiative under the GreenAtSource initiative taken under the Cop28UAE legacy where they aim to plant 1 million trees to engage communities to give out their small contribution to combat climate change.
To make Cop28 the world’s first carbon-neutral summit, many organisations, such as Geostrata, which is a youth-led think tank, planted 500 trees across Africa with the aim of "Sowing hope and reaping change, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) planted 500 trees by leading the way to encourage everyone to take part in such initiatives to save the world.
In conclusion, the success of the work done at Cop28 will depend on the cooperation of the entire world, which must come together to keep the commitments made at earlier Conferences and take the necessary actions to combat climate change by putting aside their own self-interests and working for the benefit of the whole world.
This time, the success of Cop28 should be reviewed on the basis of the actions taken rather than the commitments made by the nations. The UAE must act responsibly by investigating ways to supply sustainable energy and making sure that suitable climate action is taken to advance the pace of achieving climate targets.